How will IoT benefit your business?

By Richard Cornish, Head of Internet of Things, Xchanging

Working in technology for as long as I have, there’s one saying I’ve come to rely on: “All that glitters is not gold”. From the Apple Newton in the 90s to the more recent Google Buzz, if you listen to the media - or the hype on Twitter - it would seem that every new product or service is the ‘Next Big Thing’. Chances are, it’s not.

Getting excited about the latest ‘game changing’ piece of tech that winds up a flop isn’t such a dire mistake to make in the world of consumer technology. In the realm of enterprise technology however, if you invest in the wrong thing, you’re putting your whole company at risk. So, how can you avoid becoming caught up in the hype of the latest, greatest, glittery thing and inevitably wasting company resources or putting the company at risk? By fully understanding the benefits implementing that new technology will bring, in both the short- and long-term (as it relates specifically to your business), you can avoid making detrimental decisions.

What Are The Business Benefits Of IoT?                                                                                  

Undeniably, IoT is one of those technologies caught up in the hype machine at the moment. If they haven’t started to already, most companies are at least thinking about investing in IoT projects, but what are the benefits of the internet of things? Before investing, how can you know that this isn’t just a passing trend?

The internet of things is fundamentally changing the way companies are doing business. IoT effects everything in an organisation from people to data to process. It is enabling businesses to do more than was ever previously possible and the benefits are real and numerous.

The benefits of the internet of things can be categorized into the following 5 key segments:

Operational Efficiency: IoT can refine, integrate, optimise and automate business processes across an organisation. In a large enterprise, with functions dispersed globally – Customer Service in India, Marketing in the UK, etc. - IoT can combine those business processes by providing and sharing information in real-time, allowing for quick decision-making and better process efficiency.

New Business Models: IoT promotes innovation and new product development. IoT promotes innovation and new product development, enabling businesses to move to a serviced based proposition, generating reoccurring revenues and service new markets initiating new revenue streams.  By providing large amounts of data about current processes, customers, products and services, IoT is enabling businesses to create new diverse revenue streams. Take a vending machine company for example - with the new data gleaned via the internet of things they could start offering an inventory management service to the companies that supply their machines with goods.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM): IoT greatly increases a company’s number of customer touch points, allowing businesses to strengthen their relationships with the end-user. Taking cars as an example, historically buying a new car would be the only time an automaker was able to connect with the customer. With connected cars, applications are allowing car manufacturers to track the customer daily. This tremendous amount of data allows companies to understand their customer’s better and the constant monitoring enables them to respond when needed as quickly as possible. This level of response to individual customer s will create a “market of one”, driving customer loyalty to new levels.

Safety & Security: IoT helps businesses keep their staff and customers safe by monitoring things like fire alarm functionality and escape route access. Smart buildings ensure premises are both safe and compliant and thus greatly limit the chance of something tragic happening. The intel gleaned from the internet of things allows businesses to be proactive in their security efforts, preventing theft, assault and large events that could potentially wipe out a company. Customer propositions involving a high value asset, such as a car or consumer electronic device can also be tracked and recovered if stolen reducing costs of replacement and insurance.

Asset Relationship Management:  Just as IoT creates more touch points with the customer, it does the same with company assets. IoT allows businesses to monitor assets’ performance and output in real-time, ensuring they are performing to maximum ability. It also makes problem detection and life cycle management far more accurate.

If you are to implement any new technology, you must first understand how and in what capacity it benefits your business. The internet of things is changing every industry around the world for the better. It’s potential to benefit your company is clear. I think it’s safe to say that IoT more than glitters. 

Richard Cornish, Head of The Internet of Things

Richard's appointment of Head of The Internet of Things (IoT) is to steer the company’s services in the IoT space and drive strategic growth for Xchanging Technology Services.

25 years’ experience in connected technology started with the British Army, using remote sensors for surveillance, asset management and data gathering. After 10 years of service, he left to join Orange, running its Location Based Services proposition, which initially focused on delivering telematics services to the automotive sector.

Richard joins Xchanging from Vodafone Group Enterprise, where he worked for four years and was responsible for building and driving Vodafone’s connected products and services. During that time, he created propositions such as Smart Cities for Qatar, and Vodafone Vehicle Connect for Automotive OEMs and the insurance industry. Richard has also held leading positions at Norwich Union, where he launched the firm’s Pay-As-You-Drive Insurance service and big data practice, and at Cobra AT, where he created a connected car proposition including Usage Based Insurance, E&B Call and Vehicle Relationship Management.

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